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Thread: Special Registration Expands: At least 5 more countries are being added to the list.

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    Registration of all states residents by 2005

    LOS ANGELES, Jan 17: The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) will register citizens of all the countries, who came in the country before Sept 30, 2002, said a senior INS official said.

    "It is part of a law that was passed in 1996 and we are now just getting around it," said Ronald Smith, the INS Los Angeles District Director, in an exclusive telephone interview to Dawn.

    Smith said the Justice Department had decided to put all the countries into National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) by 2005. When asked whether the condition would be applicable to citizens of India and China, Smith said: "Yes."

    In reply to a question why so far the names of only Muslim countries are coming up for registration, Smith said it was just a matter of priority according to national security concerns. However, that does not mean that Muslims or Pakistani community were being targeted and made victims of some sort of religious profiling.

    The INS district director was upbeat on improving the registration procedure, saying, it was an evolving process.

    He said already the registration process had gone through massive changes. The system had now become much milder, simplified and kinder to Pakistanis and Saudis and for upcoming countries, which fall in the second or third list of countries.

    Without giving any statistics, Smith, however, said so far the turnout for registration was very small.

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